Patrix, Peter

, a French minor poet, was born at Caen in 1585, and being the son of a lawyer, was designed by his father for the same profession. This destination, which seldom suits a poetical imagination, was accordingly rejected by Patrix, who addicted himself entirely to poetry. About the age of forty, he attached himself to the court of Gaston, duke of Orleans, 'to whom, and to his widow, Margaret ofLorraine, he faithfully devoted his services. A Norman accent, and a certain affectation of rustic simplicity, did not prevent him from being in high favour at that little court: his wit, liveliness, and social talent, making amends for such imperfections. Towards the latter end of life, he became strongly touched with sentiments of religion, and suppressed, as far as he could, the licentious poems which he had written in his youth. He lived to the great age of eighty-eight, and died at Paris in 1672. At eighty, he had a violent illness, and when he recovered from it, his friends advised him to leave his bed; “Alas!” said he, “at my time of life, it is hardly worth while to take the trouble of dressing myself again.” He proved however mistaken, as to the shortness of his subsequent | life. Of his works there are extant, 1. A collection of verses entitled “La miv-ricorde de Dieu sur un pecheur pénitent,” Blois, 1660, 4to. These were written in his age, yet possess some fire. 2. “Plaints des Consonnes qui n‘ont pas Thonneur d’entrer dans le noiu de Neufgermain,” preserved in the works of Voiture 3. Miscellaneous poems, in the collection of Barbin. The greater part of them are feeble, with the exception of a few original passages. The poem most known was made a few days before his death. It is called the Dream; and, though it is of a serious cast, a translation of it, oddly enough, possesses a place in all our English jest bokks, beginning, “I dreamt that buried in my fellow-clay,” &c. It asserts a moral and religious axiom, which is undeniable, that death levels all conditions. The original is little known; it is this:

Je songeois cette nuit que, de mal consumé,

Côte a côte d‘un Pauvre on m’avoit inhumé,

Et que n’en pouvant pas souffrir le voisinage,

En mort de qualité je lui tins ce langage:

"Retire toi, coquin! va pourrir loin d’ici,

II ne t‘appartient pas de m’approcher ainsi."

Coquin!” me dit il, d’une arrogance extreme,

"Va chercher tes coquins ailleurs, coquin toi-même!

Ici tous sent egaux; je ne te dois plus rién;

Je suis sur mon fumier, comme toi sur le lien."


Niceron, vol. XXIV. —Moreri. —Dict. Hist.